Nearly 50 Percent of Adolescent Girls in India Are Unhealthy

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 30 April 2012, 11:00 Hrs   |    2 Comments
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Bangalore: 47 percent adolescent girls in India are underweight with a body mass index of less than the prescribed level of 18.5, said the UNICEF Global Report card on Adolescents 2012. Such under nutrition leaves adolescents vulnerable to disease and early death and has lifelong health consequences.

India is home to around 243 million adolescents. It is followed by China, with around 200 million adolescents. The south Asia region as a whole fared badly on the body mass index level with Bangladesh and Nepal having 35 percent and 26 percent underweight adolescent girls respectively.

The report also suggested that anaemia is a severe public health problem in 16 countries; the largest number of cases being found in India, where more than half of girls aged between 15–19 are anaemic.

India is also listed as a prime destination for adolescent girls to bear children. The report found out that 22 percent of women aged 20-24 years gave birth before the age of 18 in India.

As per the global report, India, Bangladesh, and Niger accounted for one in every three of the world’s adolescent births. 40 percent of women in Bangladesh conceived before the age of 18 years followed by Nepal at 23 percent and Pakistan at 10 percent respectively. The only industrialized country among the top ten countries with the highest number of adolescent births is the United States. In adolescent mothers, under nutrition is related to slow fetal growth and low birth weight.

Dr Meenakshi Banerjee, consultant gynecology at Max Hospital said, "Poverty and lack of proper education are the main reasons behind such situation. Some communities in India still go for early marriages which results in early pregnancy," as reported by DNA. She added that this resulted in further worsening of the health of the adolescents.

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